17 Nov 2010

Phosphate supply warnings overstated - scientist

6:53 am on 17 November 2010

An eminent Australian soil and crop scientist says the world's not in danger of running out of phosphate fertiliser, a mineral that's essential for plant growth.

But he says that will also depend on cutting back the excessive use of fertiliser and using it more efficienctly.

Agriculture Professor Peter Cornish of the University of Western Sydney, told at an agronomy and grasslands conference in Christchurch that scientists are well aware that rock phosphate reserves are limited.

But, he said, calculations that the world will run out in 50 to 100 years don't stand up to scrutiny.